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Chicopee's newest Makino machining cell is comprised of two a81M horizontal machining centres with fifth axis rotary tables and a Makino MMC-R robotic fixture plate distribution system. The cell is controlled by a Makino MAS-A5 cell controller.

The cell has been designed to meet the needs of long-term contracts to produce titanium structural frame components for advanced military and commercial aircraft, including Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. Chicopee has worked with the manufacturers throughout the development of the aircraft and is now preparing to take the components from the development phase into production.

At the heart of the cell are its a81M 5-axis machining centres, which provide the machining flexibility, power and precision the titanium parts demand. The a81M’s rotary workhead permits the spindle to reach virtually every surface on a part without requiring refixturing. With its 8,000 rpm spindle speed, and more than 1,000 Nm of torque (the highest torque, Quehl notes, of all the
machines at Chicopee), the a81M has the power and speed necessary to work with the toughest metals. Spindle integration with the drive motor’s rotor reduces vibration during high speed operation and increases acceleration and deceleration. Spindle acceleration to top speed in just 2.4 seconds reduces non-cut time substantially. High pressure (1,000 psi), high volume (20 gal/min) through-the-tool cooling and a centre-trough design quickly remove large quantities of chips and provide enhanced reliability in continuous machining. Two a81M machining centres are currently installed in the cell, and Chicopee plans to add three more (the third machine is scheduled for installation in March) as orders for production aircraft
ramp up. SMT

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